Early Thursday morning, the Michigan statehouse passed a bill renewing the 2012 “telemedicine ban,” which is set to expire at the end of December. Governor Snyder is expected to sign the bill into law before the New Year when newly-elected Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer takes office.
The “telemedicine ban” prevents doctors from prescribing an abortion-inducing pill via webcam. Scientific research conducted by medical professionals and the World Health Organization found that the pill, which is composed of a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol is a safe and effective option for terminating a pregnancy up to 11 weeks. Studies have also shown that telemedicine abortion provides greater choice and convenience for patients.
Opponents of the bill and doctors also state that the ban, which would require doctors to physically meet with patient in order to prescribe the pill, was created for political reasons rather than safety reasons. Banning telemedicine abortion makes it difficult for people who live miles away from a clinic to access a safe abortion, further restricting access to reproductive healthcare in rural areas.
According to Think Progress, this bill is one of many steps that the Republican-Controlled state House has recently taken to implement conservative bills before Republican Governor Snyder leaves office. Last week, the House passed amendments to take away Michigan’s minimum wage increase and paid sick leave. This decision resulted in angry protests at the state’s capitol.
Self-induced abortion is currently banned in seven states, and 19 states require doctors to physically prescribe abortion medication, rather than doing it online.
Newswire sources: Think Progress 12/13/18